A/N: This is kind of like the quick, male point of view of a serious story I'm writing. Hope you like it. It gets sappy at the end.
We Will Not Part as Friends
It suddenly rains on us, she laughs and turns up her hands.
Jamie Perez is well aware that his best friend, Veronica O'Callaghan, better known as Roni O., can date whomever she pleases. After all, she is just his friend.
But Jamie can't help but feel his gut wrench and his heart clench when their friend Jeff makes an accusation towards his small, short haired blonde buddy.
"Tired? Did you stay up all night talking to your British boyfriend?"
Roni sends a glare in his direction, and man, if looks could kill. Roni had always been ferocious, vicious even. She kind of had to be, at least during elementary school, but it had kind of just stuck with her. She was a no nonsense kind of girl, she didn't put up with Jeff's bull, more often than not, she put him in his place. Jeff always had it coming though, he was a smug, arrogant, douchebag who never knew when to stop, and he always took things too far. But still, they'd been friends with him for so long; it was his normal behavior for them really.
But when these words leave Jeff's mouth and are voiced audibly, Jamie's head snaps up. British boyfriend?
Roni had spent the entire summer before their senior year of high school off in London, visiting her rich and classy grandmother. Roni had pointed out the old woman was stubborn and old and had listed off a few other names that Jamie didn't care to repeat regarding an eighty year old woman, but aside from all that, Roni had made it clear that if her grandmother was anything, it was classy.
"What does he mean?" Jamie finds himself asking, suddenly enthralled by the not so stimulating conversation. They're all just sitting outside of an In-N-Out Burger under an umbrella slowly eating their food and sucking down their milkshakes, enjoying the last few days before their senior year begins and the world changes.
There are six of them there. Roni, Jamie, Jeff, their two other best friends Max and Ryan, and Leanne, Jamie's newest girlfriend. One that Roni didn't particularly like.
Leanne urges Roni to tell them what Jeff meant by the term 'British Boyfriend' and Jamie catches the look that Roni sends her. It makes Leanne shrink back at little bit. And Leanne isn't the type to shrink back.
It's Ryan that finally gets her to launch into the story. Roni, who isn't really the dramatic type, is being dramatic. Jamie knows she's doing it because it's what everyone really wants, but still the story leaves him feel slightly sick.
Jamie isn't confused by the feeling; he knows exactly what it is. Jealousy. He'd felt it plenty, especially after his girlfriend Miranda, freshman year, broke up with him because Craig Clearwater asked her to the dance. After he had already asked her, and she'd said yes.
That wasn't the first run in with the competition between him and Craig. Especially since right now, Jamie had his arms around the only girl Craig ever seemed to want to do more than have sex with. Craig and Leanne had been on and off since seventh grade.
Jamie has always hated Craig, kind of like Roni had always hated Leanne, but that's a long story. The Jamie/Craig rivalry started in elementary school when they were both picked to be team captains in P.E. Things transformed as they got older into something more, from wanting to beat the other's lame, makeshift elementary school sports team, to girls and lots of other things. But aside from girls and sports, Jamie had him beat in every other area. Jamie only dated girls he actually liked, made sure that there was a steady friendship between the two before he made things official. Craig was more of the 'casual fuck' kind of guy. So maybe Jamie had him beat there as well, it depended on who was judging. But Craig could have sports, they didn't mean much to Jamie, he was a musician.
But Jamie doesn't want to over analyze what he's feeling at the moment, because he can feel Leanne's hand creeping up his thigh.
When Roni finishes her story, the boys, Ryan, Max and Jeff are laughing and ridiculing her for how much she seemed to like the guy.
Apparently she'd told them all. The three of them were both her and Roni's best friends, but he and Roni had always been the closest and now he was the last to know about a boy she might actually like?
Roni was the Ice Queen when it came to boys. She was that girl, the unattainable one. The girl that every guy wants, their type of not, they just want to her because they can't have her. No one knows why Roni denies and rejects every guy who's ever laid eyes on her.
But Ryan seems to know. And that also bothers Jamie.
He feels betrayed.
Jamie is always the first to know everything about Roni.
Leanne's hands suddenly don't matter any more.
Later that night they're at Roni's house and it's just Jamie and his best friend. They sit there in the kitchen, at the table, with a Scrabble board in front of them, a slow game unfolding. Jamie is distracted and all he can seem to spell are three letter words. Roni spells 'Olympic' using the 'C' Jamie had just put down to spell 'cat'.
Roni always beats him at Scrabble, after all she does want to major in English, it only figures she would. But normally he puts up a good fight. Not tonight.
"Why didn't you tell me about John?" He asks when he can't keep wondering any longer. The name John, though so common, feels strange and alien on his tongue. Roni had never had an interest in a guy before. Other than Jamie himself, of course, but that's just because they're best friends, right?
Roni shrugs and reminds him that it's his turn to spell a word, but Jamie looks down at the letters and they look like they're from sort of foreign language. How can he focus on spelling when his best friend is keeping things from him?
"He wasn't that big of a deal, Jamie." She says looking down at the table twirling some of her tiles around in circles.
By the way she won't me his eyes, Jamie isn't all that convinced. No in fact, he isn't convinced at all. She spent her eighteenth birthday with him instead of with Jamie like she should have. Of course she'd been out of town, well, state, or country actually, but still, she should have spent the day with him, even though it hadn't really been possible, it doesn't change that Jamie feels like she should have been with him.
Jamie eventually gets her to tell him about this 'John'.
Jamie immediately hates him. Especially since she looks so fond of him when she speaks. A soft smile is ever present as she tells him of the adventures they had in England.
Jamie is trying his best not to scowl.
"He's maybe six two, he's got this thick dark, wavy hair, and he always has it combed like a gentleman. He is a gentleman really. But he looks like a model really, he's not skinny, by any means, but he isn't solid muscle like Max is. He's got these smoldering hazel eyes, and the most charming smile. He really is sweet, he's a gentleman."
She says gentleman for the third time and Jamie is ready to get on a plane and splatter his blood on the historic streets. But Jamie isn't exactly sure why this bothers him so much.
But there is another question burning at the forefront of Jamie's mind concerning this 'John'. And Jamie doesn't mean to ask it, but once he does he figures it isn't over stepping any boundaries, they are best friends after all.
The question is like the freight train in that movie unstoppable and Jamie really couldn't have stopped in from coming out if he wanted to. But Jamie felt like he needed to know the answer to this question.
"Did you get your first kiss?"
The question sounds so innocent and childish really, especially since Jamie has been kissing girls since he was twelve. But Roni hasn't ever kissed a boy. Part of him wants really badly to know why, but the other part is just really worried about what the answer to this question is.
And when Roni says no, Jamie feels like a weight has been lifted off his shoulders. Why? Because there's this very dominant part of him that has always wanted to be Roni's first kiss.
But Jamie is stupid. He always has been. He doesn't know why he never just did it before, because he knew that at any time, Roni could change her mind and decide maybe it was finally time to give someone a chance. What would have happened if she decided that in London? Jamie would have been heart broken. But it doesn't really make any sense to him because he isn't in love with Roni. She's his best friend and he loves her without a doubt in his mind, but he's not in love with her.
At least he doesn't think so. No, he's positive he isn't.
But his blood boils as Roni tells him a story of how she went clubbing with him. Because John is twenty-two and he's not some high school kid, he's a real, grown up, fucking man.
He got Roni to wear a dress and make-up. Two things which Roni hates. She's a total tom-boy to her core. And Jamie loves the way she comes to school rocking some old converse, a pair of ripped skinny jeans and the matching band t-shirt they got at the gig they went to a while back.
His sister got Roni drunk for the first time, and then like the saint Roni had described him as, Jamie knew it was true, because apparently, John hadn't drank with them at all and he took Roni home, tucked her into bed, put water and Advil by her bed and got her cleaned up without disturbing her classy grandmother.
But Jamie can only find room to criticize in his mind. He shouldn't have let her drink in the first place.
"Why didn't you kiss John?" Jamie asks. It's something that he couldn't really figure out since she described him like fucking Prince Charming. It's been two weeks since the night of scrabble.
She shrugs something she likes to do often.
Jamie groans, "That isn't an answer Rons."
Roni would always roll her eyes when he called her that, because "only Jamie would shorten an already short nickname", but Jamie knows Roni loves it when he calls her that.
"Maybe I'm saving it for someone." She says quietly looking down at her hands.
"Who?" he asks trying to sound curious, which he is, but there's a more dominant feeling that's sitting on top of it. Hope.
She shrugs again, "Dunno."
Jamie has been forcing Roni to hang out with Leanne. And he thinks that maybe forcing her to go dress shopping with her arch nemesis might finally push her over the edge.
They went shopping for Homecoming dresses. Jamie and Leanne were already planning on going together, because Leanne was a social butterfly, the 'it' girl and Jamie was never one to turn down a night of grinding and dirty dancing. But Roni is going because she never really thinks before she talks. She just makes things up as she goes along and it gets her into trouble sometimes.
Craig asked her to homecoming with him, which bugged Jamie but not too bad. Craig had always been after Roni. He was pretty sure that any girl he had ever asked slept with Craig, but Roni being who she is always said no to any of his attempts or advancements. The only girl to ever shoot him down. It makes Jamie smile knowing that he was dating the girl Craig might have loved, and that his best friend is the only other girl that he's ever put any effort into pursuing and she shoots him down every time.
Craig deserves to be unhappy.
But Roni's excuse for not going with Craig was that she was already going with Ryan. And Craig believed it because Roni was pretty convincing most of the time. But she hadn't actually planned on going until Craig told Ryan.
Now Ryan was forcing her to go as payback for using him as a scape goat.
When the girls show up at Max's house to swim, Jamie is relieved to find out his girlfriend hasn't been murdered and that his best friend only looks slightly irritated with the big chested, blonde haired girl that threw her arms around him.
It doesn't escape his attention when Roni averts her eyes.
Roni has asked Jamie why he's dating Leanne, especially since he knows firsthand that she hates the other girl.
Jamie told her it was because he liked her. And he did, Leanne was not just all boobs and legs, she was smart, and could hold an interesting conversation. Not to mention she could do some incredible things with her tongue.
But Jamie wasn't sure that was the right answer to the question.
Deep down, Jamie almost felt like it was a test. To see how far he could stretch their friendship. To see how far Roni's, what seemed like undying loyalty to him, would go.
Leanne was the reason that Roni was rough and tough and not all daisies and unicorns. In fifth grade, Roni had still gone by Veronica, and she had this long blonde hair that reached below her waist. It was platinum blonde and silky smooth. Then Leanne took the scissors to it. Her hair went from waist length to right about her ears with the snip of some scissors. She cut off her ponytail.
Everyone started to say that Roni looked like a boy and made fun of her. Leanne was the ring leader. Jamie found her crying by the water fountain one day and brought her over to his three best friends, Max, Ryan and Jeff. The five of them were close as can be since. So really Leanne had done them all a favor, because life would suck without Roni. She made Jamie's day.
But Jamie still gets why Roni hates her. Her hair is still short, Roni refuses to grow it back out. It's not quite shaved in the back, but it's not long enough for someone to run their fingers though, maybe across. She has bangs, like some hipster rock star might have, but it looks good on her.
Jamie's hair is longer than hers.
They're at Jamie's house two nights before the dance. Jamie normally doesn't like to bring company over because his family is loud and embarrassing. But Roni is welcome company.
"Veronica!" Jamie's mother exclaims rolling the 'r's in her name. Then proceeding to engulf her in a hug and tell her that she's glad to see her in Spanish. Roni smiles and responds in English because she's only taken one year of Spanish and while she learns a lot from Jamie, his mother speaks so fast sometimes it's hard to unjumble what she's said. At least for a beginner, Jamie's dealt with it his whole life.
"Jamie!" His mother then turns to him and scolds him for not bringing Roni over sooner. Jamie hates the way his name is pronounced in Spanish, "Hi-May", but Roni likes it and she smiles every time she hears it, which is okay with Jamie.
He likes Roni's smile.
When homecoming rolls around, he and Leanne are supposed to meet up with Ryan and Roni, but they wait for almost an hour and there's no sign of the pair. Which leaves Jamie feeling unsettled. He calls and leaves them both a ton of messages, but he doesn't get any responses which just makes him mad.
He dances with Leanne all night long and she lets him run his hands all over her body. When she shoves her tongue into her mouth, he kisses her back because he's her boyfriend and that's what he's supposed to do. But he can't get into it.
He's too busy thinking about how the next time he sees Ryan he's going to punch him in the face. The familiar feeling of jealousy is stirring in the pit of his gut. But it doesn't mean anything because he isn't in love with Roni. They're just best friends.
But at school the next week there's these crazy rumors that Ryan and Roni skipped out on the dance to do the nasty. But Jamie isn't fooled, he knows Roni would never. Especially not with Ryan. Would she?
And then he falters, he doesn't know what to believe.
Jamie is confused and hurt, because he knows the rumors can't be true. Except they can be. But Roni would never. Except she might. No, Jamie thinks, no. she wouldn't.
It doesn't stop him from getting all irritated at the way the two are giggling in economics over some inside jokes and it's only adding fuel to the rumor fire, but Roni doesn't seem affected by it. Neither does Ryan.
Which means one of two things. The rumors are nowhere close to true and Roni doesn't see the point in even acknowledging them. Or they are totally true.
He hopes it isn't the latter. It can't be. It just can't. Jamie sincerely hopes it's not.
He doesn't want to lose faith in his best friend, the girl he doesn't love. At least not like that.
His hope and faith in her doesn't keep him from asking.
Jamie regrets the question the moment it leaves his mouth because the look on her pretty little face, the sad, betrayed look of hurt in her icy blue eyes says it all.
"I can't believe you would ever believe anything like that." She says sounds all hurt and Jamie can't stand the tone in her voice.
"Leanne wanted me to ask." He lied. "I told her that you would never, but she made me ask, just to be sure. I thought it was ridiculous."
Roni knows he's lying. She always knows when he's lying. But she bites her bottom lip and sucks it in a little looking away before she nods and says, "Yeah, okay."
He wants to rewind and make the look go away, but there isn't much he can do now.
Roni never does tell him what she and Ryan actually did do.
Roni and Jamie have this secret spot. They found it when Jamie got is license as a sophomore. They'd driven up into the hills and pulled into a turnout. It was late and Jamie was feeling rebellious so they were going to break curfew. Which seemed so lame to Jamie now, but it was one of his most treasured memories because everything between him and his best friend was raw. They never censored what they felt.
He and Roni still went there. They were sitting on the hood of his car, shoulders touching, arms intertwined, heads leaning against each other, staring up at the stars. Up in the hills where the city lights were distant and faded, the stars were so beautiful.
Now that they were eighteen, they didn't have a curfew, and it was well past midnight when Jamie realized he could see his breath in the October night air.
It's cold, but it's not like it's going to snow. It doesn't snow in the part of California they live in. It doesn't mean it doesn't get cold. Jamie and Roni both wish they did live somewhere it snowed and made a pact a long time ago sometime in the winter sitting by the fireplace in Roni's house around Christmas time in the dark with marshmallows and fleece pajamas, that they would spend some time in the snow together one day.
But Jamie remembered that night so clearly and held it close to his heart because it was what friends did; they remembered promises that they made each other. He didn't remember it because he had loved the way the fire illuminated Roni's young face. Or because he was in love with her, because really, he wasn't.
Jamie had been so spaced out and absorbed by the sky that he hadn't even noticed the drop in temperature. Or the shivering or the teeth chattering of the girl lying next to him who had to weigh ninety eight pounds on a good day.
Once Jamie notices this, they're in the car with the heater on driving home immediately. Jamie has shed his own jacket and given it to his tiny best friend so that she can keep warm. Jamie is worried because even though she has his jacket and the car is getting so hot it's hard for him to breathe, she's still shivering.
But he's worried about her in an older brother kind of way. Or at least he's trying to convince himself he is. But in reality, he's thinking the best way to get her warm is to get naked. But Jamie won't ever let himself admit to that because he isn't in love with his best friend. He doesn't see her that way.
Leanne has friends with a beach house that's only about an hour drive away. It's the week before Halloween and they're having a bonfire before it gets too cold. Jamie thinks once again of the fireplace pact that he and Roni had made.
Leanne invited Roni when she was hanging out with Jamie and Jamie was hanging out with Roni and Max.
Roni seemed to have come to terms with the fact that Jamie was dating Leanne and could even tolerate her now. Jamie was proud of her accomplishments.
Roni was about to turn her down.
But Jamie spoke up and he looked her at with this look that he knew she could never resist and asked her to go because he knew that Roni never said no to anything Jamie asked of her. But it was because they were best friends, not because Roni was in love with him.
Roni agreed, but only if Max came.
Max shrugged and said he didn't care.
It was how they wound up on the beach wrapped up in sweaters, a can of beer in hand and a stick with a marshmallow on it trying to get in somewhere by the fire to stay warm and toast the damn fluffy white sugar ball thing, that is called a marshmallow.
They've been there for a while and while Max has no trouble settling in with a can of beer and some pretty girls, Roni goes missing. Jamie doesn't pay attention at first because all his girlfriend seems to be interested in tonight is making out. Which is fine with Jamie until they finally split up and he notices that Roni has been gone for a while.
Suddenly, Jamie is frantic with worry. He's going around asking random people if they've seen her. Max is clueless and there is no point in asking Leanne because they've been lip locked all night. Finally he asks this guy wearing a UCLA sweater that he remembers getting introduced to when they first showed up, but he can't remember his name for the life of him.
"That cute blonde chick with the short hair? She was wearing the Oxford sweater right?" UCLA guy says.
Jamie has to actually physically concentrate on not making a face when he hears, 'Oxford'. It was John's sweater, Roni had told him herself.
"Yeah, her." Jamie forces himself to say. Because he doesn't like the way UCLA guy looks or the way he called Roni cute. Even though that was the perfect adjective for her.
"She's down towards the water; saw her walk down there earlier."
Jamie tries not to run into the dark away from the fire towards the cold hard sand and the sound of loud crashing waves, but he has to find Roni, doesn't he? Not because he's insanely worried that a wave might have pulled her into the ocean or a beached shark ate her, but because he's her best friend. He has to make sure she's okay.
He finds her easy enough. She sitting just far enough away from the water, and she's frozen to the bone, but she doesn't seem to notice. The way that he was entranced by the stars, Roni was enamored by the dark ocean and the sound of the crashing waves.
He convinces her to come back to the fire and warm up because she really is cold. She agrees easily enough. He sits her down next to Leanne and hands her a marshmallow on a stick, ready to be roasted and then put into the process of s'more making.
Jamie leaves the two girls alone because he knows that now; Roni won't try and kill his girlfriend. But also because he seriously has to piss and there's too many people for him to just wander off and go behind a bush or something. Not that there's many on the beach. So he finds his way back up the stairs to the beach house they're at and uses the restroom there, taking his sweet time.
He walks back to the fire, but when he gets there Roni is standing, her body is tense and she's quietly saying to Leanne, "he always gets what he wants, and obviously he has it."
Jamie doesn't know what she's referring to, but something is wrong because Roni storms away past him without sparing him a glance but there are tears in the corners of her eyes, threatening to fall. And Roni doesn't cry.
She hasn't over anything but the sad ending to some sappy chick flick in a long time.
Jamie allows himself a glance at Leanne, but she motions for him to follow Roni although she doesn't look all too pleased either. Jamie wonders is following his best friend or comforting in his girlfriend is what he should do. For a moment he thinks he should stay for Leanne, but he doesn't. He's trying to catch up to Roni, because in the long run, Leanne has nothing on Roni.
Roni is his best friend. Nothing more.
He catches up to her at the house but she doesn't want to talk to him. She isn't crying yet, but he can tell she's about to. Jamie doesn't want to leave, but she tells him to go over and over again. Jamie runs off to find Max somewhere, and even though he's amid a very riveting conversation with some pretty brunette, when Jamie tells him Roni is crying he's immediately on his feet. Jamie follows Max back to the house, but he doesn't go inside. He stands outside the half open door and listens to Roni cry into Max's arms.
He's jealous again. But only because he feels that he is Roni's best friend and he should be the shoulder she cries on, not Max. He's not jealous because he loves her; he's not upset and worried because he loves her, because he doesn't. Only as his best friend. That's all they are. All they will ever be.
Roni tells him that she's in love with someone.
The words are like a knife twisting into his chest. He feels like it's hard to breathe. All the oxygen isn't getting into his lungs. He might suffocate, he might die.
But it's because Roni won't tell him who, not because he wishes that it was him, because he doesn't. Not really.
He asks if it's John, but Roni says no.
He asks if it's Ryan, she says no.
He asks if it's Max or Jeff, but she denies both claims.
It has to be John or Ryan though, Jamie thinks. She has told him that this guy is the reason she never dates anyone. She has told him that he knows this person, that he has met him, many times. Since Jamie has never met John, it rules him out. Jamie is left with Ryan because Max is too much like her older brother and Jeff is too much of a douchebag.
He wants to punch Ryan. In the face, hard. To leave a bruise on his jaw, or even break his perfectly straight nose. Ryan wants to distort his other best friends appearance because it attracts Roni. He wants Ryan to have different eyes; he doesn't want him to have nice green ones. He wants Ryan to be short and fat instead of tall and muscular. He wants Ryan to be stupid and socially awkward, not smart and charming.
But most of all, he wants to be Ryan. But he doesn't know why. There isn't a justification for this want, especially since Jamie isn't in love with Roni.
Jamie watches in disgust as the two laugh in class together and at lunch. He starts taking Roni home from school just because he doesn't want her climbing into Ryan's car and having any alone time with him.
Ryan's a bastard. Jamie just isn't sure why.
Roni ends up going to winter formal with Max, simply because he asked her. Roni is too nice to say no, and Max is one of her best friends.
Jamie decides that Max is a bastard too.
Roni goes dress shopping with Leanne again. By now, hell has frozen over because the two are actually kind of friends. Leanne shows them all her dress while they hang out at her house one night. They all want to see Roni's dress, but all she gives them is the color, it's white. She wants it to be a surprise for Max.
She says it all suggestively and playfully, and she giggles. Jamie isn't sure that he was right about her liking Ryan anymore, even though the two of them together still makes him want to heave. But maybe Roni likes Max instead. Because she could never like Jeff, he's too much of a douchebag.
This time, Roni actually shows up at the dance and she looks entirely too happy to dance with Max. Jamie hates Max. Almost as much as he hates John. Even though he knows that Roni doesn't like John, because he hasn't ever met him before. But John likes Roni. Roni's grandma wants her to move to England to marry John. He remembers Roni laughing and saying she would consider it.
Jamie hates her grandma too.
When she arrived he told her she looked beautiful, because it was true and they were best friends. Not because he loved her and longed for her to smile at him all the time.
He watches Roni dance all night long. And she dances with a lot of different people even though she isn't the best at it. Guys are just watching her have fun. Including himself, except he feels more than any of the guys watching, or dancing with her. But it's because she's his best friend.
Roni even dances with Craig, which is ridiculous because she hates Craig almost as much as Jamie does.
Jamie wants to dance with her. Roni keeps giving him these looks. Beckoning him over to give it a go, telling him that she wants to dance with him too though she never says it out loud. The way her eyes are on him while she's slow dancing with Max says it all.
But Jamie doesn't dance with her. He can't. He does have his own girlfriend to attend to. But when the next song is up, Leanne runs off to the bathroom and Jamie takes a seat at their table. Jamie knows that this is his chance. That Roni would give up any dance partner and dance with him because they were best friends.
But he can't bring himself to do it. So he just sits there and tries not to watch her have fun. But he can't help but to watch her, she's so mesmerizing. So he shifts in his seat so he isn't looking at her head on and he pretends not to watch her, even though he is. He's not fooling anyone and he knows it.
"Who are you in love with?" Jamie asks.
"I can't tell you." She responds.
Roni goes with Max to a college party at his brother's house out of town. Which convinces Jamie even more that the accusation against Ryan had been a mistake and it had been Max all along. But not Jeff. Never Jeff. He was too much of a douche bag.
The pair shows up at Jeff's house for a movie night after the party. Jamie is in the kitchen making popcorn when they arrive.
There's Jeff's happy voice and Ryan's happy voice and then silence and seriousness and while Jamie is wondering what's wrong, he's got to finish his commitment to the popcorn.
When the microwave timer goes off and he pours the popcorn from the bag to the bowl and walks into the living room. He immediately sets down the popcorn bowl and rushes to his best friend. She's bruised, and bleeding.
He wants to kill Max.
Jamie takes her into Jeff's bathroom where he knows there might just be a full on hospital with nurses and everything in the medicine cabinet because Jeff's parents are doctors.
Roni changes into a pair of Jeff's clothes because her jeans have blood stains on the knees. Roni isn't crying or acting strange, she seems just fine.
But her palms and forearms, along with his knees and shins are all bleeding.
She tells Jamie not to worry in a nonchalant voice. Like whatever happened was okay. She still hadn't explained.
"Jamie, baby," she says smiling, using his old nickname, "don't worry, I'm not dying."
The thought of her dying sent this pain through Jamie's heart that hurt so bad he thought he might have passed out just from her saying it.
But he then wonders if he ever dated Roni is she would call him Jamie baby. He wouldn't mind that. But they wouldn't ever date, because they were best friends.
"Where's Leanne tonight?" Roni asks him in a strangely suspicious voice.
Jamie looks up at her. He's cleaning the gravel from her shins, apparently she fell, or something, she still hadn't gotten around to the story yet.
"She's with her family, out of town somewhere, why?"
Roni bites her lip and sucks it in a little, the way she does when she wants to say something but she can't.
Jamie changes the subject. "What happened?"
Roni launches into this story about the party and how when it got too crazy she stepped outside for air, but there was this guy. And this guy had a beard. She made a point, saying over and over again that he looked like a hobo, smelled like one too, straight of the streets of San Francisco.
It makes Jamie laugh. It's one of the things he loves about his best friend. She makes him laugh, a lot.
She ends up saying that the guy was drunk and came onto her, making Jamie furious. But she kicked him right in the balls and went to find Max so they could leave, but when she went back outside, the guy pushed her from the porch into the dirt. Max only sees red when he's angry and so he whirled around and punched the guy straight in the face, pretty sure that he would have a broken nose.
Roni seemed amused by it all, and kept saying she was glad Max was there.
Jamie gets jealous again. He absolutely hates Max, more than he hates John or Roni's grandma.
But Jamie isn't in love with Roni. At least he doesn't think so.
Roni is curled up against Jamie's chest comfortably, and he has his arm around her slender frame. He can feel her shaking slightly, their bodies so close and all. She's crying, he knows it.
They're watching the latest chick flick. Jamie is the only one who ever dares to watch them with her. She always cries when she watches them.
They're always so sad. Jamie gets it. But it doesn't make him want to cry. He has a heart, and it tugs on the strings of it, but he doesn't take any of it to heart.
Roni does. She sobs. She's so vulnerable. All her real fears coming out, so raw and powerful.
Jamie hates to see her cry, but he loves knowing that he is the only one who can comfort her. He likes being her superman, her man of steel. He is the rock she runs to.
When the movie is over and she's still crying, Jamie slowly runs his hands across her back in gentle soothing strokes. He whispers things into her hair and make sure she knows that everything is all right.
But Roni always does this. She needs so much reassurance.
"It's so sad." She sobs into his chest. He loves holding her. Not really caring at the moment what that means.
"But it isn't real." He tells her softly.
"But what if it was? What if some couple in the world went through the exact same thing?"
"I'm sure someone, somewhere has. But you won't Roni."
"How do you know?"
"I won't let you." He promises knowing that he's not entirely sure he's capable of keeping it.
Roni seems to take solace in that and her sobs become less harsh and she slowly stops crying until she's taking those post cry breaths where you breathe in multiple times in a row without exhaling. And she's hiccupping softly. Jamie can't help but notice how content he is right then.
But it's because he's comforting his best friend. Not because he's in love with her. Or is he?
He had spent the day with her watching the sad movie because he wanted to be there for her after that party she went to. The one where the guy with the beard that smelled like a hobo physically assaulted her.
Jamie could kill that man.
He also spends the day after that with her as well. But something is wrong. She seems distant. She keeps biting her lip and sucking it in, the way she does when she wants to say something but can't. Jamie wants to ask her what it is, but he wants her to be able to bring it up herself.
He wants her to trust him.
He knows she does, but he doesn't like this.
They're walking down the street, from Jamie's house to Roni's. It's only a few blocks away and she still hasn't mentioned what he knows she wants to. Whatever it is.
Then it starts to rain on them. Roni looks at him with these big beautiful blue eyes and the distance is gone. She lifts her hands into the air and she twirls around like a child. But Jamie loves the sight of her so happy.
Jamie isn't in love with her though. But he isn't so sure about that anymore.
The next time they're at school, things change. Jamie is fuming and he won't even look at Roni.
There are rumors about Roni at that party circulating.
Jamie doesn't want to believe them. He won't.
Except they all seem like they could be true.
But Roni would never.
Except she might.
Jamie doesn't know.
When Roni shows up at his house and comes into his room like she's never seen it before, Jamie isn't in the mood. He's all irritated and mad. He's frustrated, hurt, confused, angry. He doesn't know really. Jamie can't decide on one feeling.
The words that come out of that mouth surprise Jamie. Roni has always done that.
"Do you love Leanne?"
Jamie retaliates bitterly. "I don't know. Even if I did, why should I tell you? You can't tell me."
He almost sees her physically flinch.
"Well, it's relevant to what I'm her to tell you."
"So tell me." Jamie says it harsh. He regrets it.
"Leanne is a bitch." He sees Roni struggle to say the words. And suddenly Jamie is furious. "She's a total slut too-"
Jamie cuts her off. "Did you come here just to insult my girlfriend?"
"Jamie just listen to me-"
"No, no, no." he says shaking his head like he's telling himself to do the opposite of what she says, like if he doesn't say it out loud, he might just listen to her.
Jamie begins to yell. He says a lot of things he regrets the moment they come out, but they keep coming.
He tells her about the party rumors and that he believes all of them. He tells her that she's dirty. That's she's the slut. That she's the bitch because fifth grade was like seven years ago, and Leanne has been nothing but nice to her since they were reintroduced.
He sees the pain he's causing and he wants to stop, but he can't. The words just keep coming and he can see her start to cry and now it's not Max or Ryan of John or Roni's grandma that he hates. It's himself.
Jamie tells her she's a slut just for hanging out with nothing but the boys all the time. She recoils like he's physically hit her.
She's looking up at him with these wide heartbroken eyes and she cries. She doesn't even try to hide them and Jamie can see what he's done. Suddenly he stops. The words stop like her tears made everything stop. He doesn't know what to do.
She blinks a few times and nods at him like she's finally understood something.
"You don't have to worry about me hanging around anymore. I won't." She says and the words hurt like nothing has ever hurt before. "You always wanted to know right? Who I was in love with? It was always you. But don't worry; I'll get over you eventually. I'll get out of your life. But just so you know, Leanne is cheating on you, so have a nice life together, you deserve each other."
The words leave him frozen and he can't move as she storms out of his room. The door in front of him slams, and the pain in his chest is unbearable. He has to call her back; he was to make it better. He has to take back everything he said and be the Jamie she has always known. The Jamie who's world has always revolved around her.
He has to tell her that he loves her too.
Because now he knows. They aren't just best friends. They can't be. Jamie has figured it out too late.
But yes, Jamie is in love with her.
All is forgiven with Max now.
But Jamie is on suicide watch. Not really, but that's what Jeff said he looks like. Jeff is a douchebag.
Jamie hates himself.
Its winter break and Jamie hasn't seen or heard from Roni in a week. He spends most of his time playing sad love songs on the guitar. As long as Roni hates him, he can never forgive himself.
He wants to talk to her, but he's afraid she'll slam the door in his face.
The one day he finally got up the courage to go to her house, her mom answered and looked at him with the saddest expression he'd ever seen on another human beings face.
She told him something that made Jamie want to die.
Veronica left. She went to go visit her grandmother again. She won't be back for a while.
Jamie gets in his car and he wants to cry. But crying isn't manly. His dad always told him it was okay, but Rambo and the lack of country music in his palate told him it wasn't. He cried anyways.
He considered driving up to the hills where he and Roni used to go and simply let himself drive over the edge.
He doesn't do it.
He goes home and breaks his fist. Leaving a whole in his wall and his mother all upset and worried. Jamie doesn't mean to hurt his mom, but it's just something he's become so good at lately.
He breaks up with Leanne. He doesn't even care that she cheated on him with Craig. They could have each other. Leanne looks at him like she's genuinely sorry for him.
He becomes lost, empty, a shell of the person he used to be. Roni was all that kept him grounded and now she was gone. Maybe even forever.
No one knows when Roni is coming back. That's what they say. But Jamie can see it in the eyes of his other three best friends.
They just won't tell him.
Jamie loves Roni more than he thought.
She's gone for four months. Longer than summer. And when she comes back, she isn't Roni. She's just like Jamie, a shell.
Everyone can see it. She's different. Not just because she's wearing a dress and flats, or because her eyes are lined with eyeliner and mascara, or because she doesn't look all innocent.
She doesn't smile as much.
The first time Jamie sees her, he thinks it's a hallucination. Like in New Moon, when Bella sees Edward because she does dangerous things. He only knows this because he watched the movie with Roni.
He's afraid. He doesn't know what to do, or say, how to approach her. Would she even say hi to him?
She's walking with Leanne and she's wearing a floral skirt and a V-neck. Jamie has never seen her like this. He doesn't know what to think.
She looks great though.
She sits with the boys at lunch and Jamie isn't sure he's welcome at his own table. But he goes anyways, he needs to see her.
She looks up at him when he arrives. She smiles at him and Jamie feels his heart break. Damn it, how could she do this to him? How could she leave without saying goodbye and then just come back? How could she come back different? She was wearing makeup, she was dressed like a girl, and she looked beautiful, but Jamie knew this was his fault.
He manages to stutter out a "Hi."
She responds politely enough and he wants his Roni back. He wants her to hug him. He wants her to not look at him like she wasn't sure if he was real.
After two weeks of things being way too awkward for his taste, Jamie finds himself at her doorstep and he doesn't know how he got there or why he's there.
But Roni's mom notices him and brings him in. he's nervous. It's been four months since he was there. Jamie feels nostalgic as he walks up the stairs to Roni's room. He knocks and she calls for him to come in.
He does. He opens the door and she's sitting on her bed wearing one of their matching band tees. She looks surprised to see him and he half expects her to get up and scream for him to leave since this is her house and she doesn't have to be polite. But she doesn't.
Jamie shuts the door behind him and sits on the chair at her desk.
But nothing really gets said.
He loves her.
She needs to know.
Even if she doesn't feel the same anymore.
After that night, things get better between them and Roni seems to be coming back to life. She's rocking this half tom boy half girly style that totally suits her and Jamie thinks she looks beautiful every day.
He wants to tell her.
Jamie ends up at her house again for the third time that week, but this time he finds the courage to ask about London, because he's been avoiding that topic with her. Afraid that she would say she plans on going back.
Much to his dismay, it's filled with stories of John. This sad, bitter, jealousy is building up. But it isn't raging. It's depressing.
So he finally asks.
"Did you get your first kiss?"
She looks like she doesn't want to answer, but she does.
She says yes.
Jamie is making up some excuse to leave and get home to his guitar before he cries.
He feels pathetic. Crying is not manly. John probably doesn't cry.
When Prom comes up, asking Roni to go is a distant dream. He probably won't go.
But Roni is going with Ryan, because he asked and Roni is too nice to say no.
She wouldn't go with Jeff though, he's a douchebag.
The night of prom, all he can think about is how she's there with Ryan and how beautiful she must look.
There's only an hour left when Jamie puts his tux on.
He gets there and he's let in without a ticket because it's late and no one cares anymore.
He finds her sitting alone looking content. He loves her face.
Just as a slow song comes on, Jamie asks her to dance. Her eyes glow and Jamie thinks he must be imaging how happy she looks. She has to still hate him.
He still hates himself.
But the smile on her face isn't fake. She is really and truly smiling at him, and Jamie hasn't felt so wonderful in a really long time.
"I didn't think you would come." She said.
"I wasn't going to."
"Why did you change your mind?"
"I couldn't miss my last chance to dance with you." He says feeling a little too truthful, too vulnerable.
Then he realizes he needs to talk to her. About everything that happened.
He tries to begin his apology but she cuts him off and begins to rationalize. To say that they both said some bad things. But this time he cuts her off because that won't cut it. She tried to tell him that his girlfriend was cheating on him and he went off and thrashed her.
He begins his apology again and she lets him go this time. And then he gets to some raw feelings that he's pretty sure he wants to expose. He wants to tell her he loves her.
But the song end and he chokes up.
"I need to tell you that i-"
He can't do it. He pulls away and leaves her standing along on the dance floor.
They're hanging out a few weeks after prom, Roni hasn't brought up his unfinished confession, but she's doing that thing where she bites her lip and sucks it in. Jamie has missed her so much.
They're laughing when her phone rings and its John.
Jamie can't stand the mention of the name. He took Roni's first kiss. But its Jamie's fault for not doing that sooner. He wishes he had.
"Roni doesn't answer it because Jamie stands up and starts to walk away.
"That's not fair!" she yells out at him.
He whips around and says, "What isn't fair?"
"You can't get mad at me because John called!"
"Who says I'm mad?" Jamie is bad at this. He seems cold and really Jamie just wants to get away.
"Why aren't you my Jamie anymore?" She said in this small helpless voice.
"Because you left without saying goodbye!" He yelled. He didn't mean to. But he did.
"You were the reason I left!"
"But didn't you think I deserved to know? I went to your house to apologize and you fucking gone!"
She didn't say anything. He could see everything on her face. She looked sorry. He felt sorry.
"I wanted to be your first kiss." He said quietly. "I'm sorry this took so long and I'm sorry I chased you an ocean away, but I love you and I am just so afraid that you might leave again."
It was a legitimate fear.
"I don't want you to go. I don't ever want you to see John again, I never want you to be farther away than where I can reach out and touch you. I spent all this time trying to convince myself that I didn't love you. But it didn't work."
She hadn't said anything, she hadn't moved. Jamie was afraid that she might tell him that her feelings for him had faded but she never said anything. She just stood there like a beautiful statue. Jamie couldn't take it anymore. He had to kiss her. He had to know what her lips would feel like against his. He had to know what he was missing, what John had stolen from him.
His lips crashed onto her and her arms were immediately wrapped around him pulling him closer like she needed him just to breathe.
Maybe she did. Maybe he needed her like that too.
When they graduated they didn't worry about their relationship, they were lucky to have gotten accepted into the same school. Jamie didn't know if he would have been able to stand being separated from Roni.
Or vice versa.
Jamie found out that all of the other three boys had known Roni was in love with him. Jamie felt stupid and dense. Most of the time he was.
But at the end of summer when he and Roni had packed all their things into a car and were headed for a drive down south to get to their new school and start all over as freshman.
Jamie looked over at Roni, her now longer hair blew with the wind that came in from the car window and when she turned to look at him, she smiled.
Jamie knew that all those times he told himself 'because they were best friend' were lies. He had always been in love with Roni.
They were never supposed to be just best friends.
A/N: I feel like the ending got sappy, but what happy endings aren't? Review?